Chaos has taken centre stage at the Chitungwiza Town Council amid revelations of a bitter power struggle pitting the mayor, Philemon Chipiyo, and his deputy, Rangarirai Mutingwende.
The mayor accuses his deputy of usurping his powers with the alleged connivance of the town clerk, Godfrey Tanyanyiwa.
Yesterday, there was drama at the council offices after the deputy mayor allegedly hurled insults at the mayor in full view of council employees and charged towards him with the apparent intention of manhandling him.
The mayor told NewsDay yesterday he was saved from physical attack by the town clerk whom he said moved to restrain Mutingwende.
“I was very afraid,” the mayor said yesterday.
“The town clerk saved the situation when he restrained him (Mutingwende) from assaulting me. It’s not the first time. Last week, he insulted me.”
The mayor said he attracted the ire of his subordinate after he proposed to rescind a council resolution to buy a vehicle for the deputy mayor and to scrap allowances given to senior council staff.
“When I am around the deputy mayor has no work, so he does not need a vehicle. It’s a waste of money,” Chipiyo said. “I delegate him if I want something done and he should use my vehicle.”
He said residents were unhappy that the council had prioritised buying Mutingwende a vehicle ahead of service delivery.
“I am rescinding the resolution,” the mayor said.
Chipiyo said his powers had been usurped by Mutingwende allegedly working in cahoots with the town clerk.
“The town clerk does not talk to me or at least brief me on anything to do with the council. He instead, briefs the deputy mayor, but the residents put me to task over that and I should respond,” said Chipiyo, adding the town clerk once ejected him from a council management committee meeting.
“I don’t know where he is getting those powers.”
The town clerk was not available at Chitungwiza head office when NewsDay went there yesterday and when contacted over the phone later in the day, Tanyanyiwa refused to comment, referring questions to the deputy mayor before his phone went dead.
NewsDay got in touch with the deputy mayor who immediately went on a tirade accusing the mayor of being “too old” and “very jealous” about his “power”.
He denied usurping the mayor’s powers saying council business was being conducted in accordance with resolutions.
“That one is useless. He is a ceremonial mayor with 45% power just like me. He has no power except to serve the disabled, orphans and other ceremonial duties.”